Candida infection, also known as candidiasis or formerly moniliasis is a fungal infection caused by several candida species, the commonest being Candida albicans. It’s also known as yeast infection. It’s one of the most misunderstood conditions by people influencing spread of some myths. We explore them below

Candida infection is for genitals only

This isn’t true, infection can also occur in the mouth, esophagus, the heart or the skin. However, such cases are usually observed in instances of reduced immunity such as HIV/AIDs, use of anti-cancer drugs, or prolonged use of steroids. Skin infection occurs in warm, moist areas, which become red and weeping. Fingers and nails become involved when repeatedly immersed in water; persons employed as dishwashers in restaurants and institutions are commonly affected. Thickening or loss of the nail can occur. It’s also possible for men to be infected but its commoner in the females

Candida is got from toilets or bathroom

The candida organism is actually found naturally in the body, a state medically known as normal flora. It’s found in the female genital tract, upper respiratory tract and alimentary canal. However they are kept in small numbers due to presence of other bacteria also found in the named body parts, hence anything which would cause their overgrowth would lead to manifestation of the disease for example prolonged use of antibiotics which will kill these bacteria hence enhancing growth of candida, poor personal hygiene, pregnancy or uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. However urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be acquired by use of dirty toilets. Candidiasis itself isn’t a UTI

All itching in the genitals is candida infection

It’s true that the commonest cause of genital itching is candida, but other causes could include allergies to underwear material, or substances used for bathing, other conditions like herpes simplex, lichen sclerosus, pubic lice. This is why one needs proper diagnosis by a doctor

Antifungal creams are better than antifungal oral drugs for treatment

There are several classes of antifungals drugs, of which some have been demonstrated to be efficacious in candidiasis. There are several cream formulations which are good as some oral formulations. The part affected or form of disease will also influence use of a particular formulation.

Transmission is sexual or sharing bathing items

It’s not regarded as a sexually transmitted infection, hence there’s no transmission. It’s already found in our bodies as we discussed earlier. There is no evidence that sharing basins, sponges or towels can transmit infection, however other infections can be transmitted this way

Generally, candidiasis sometimes can be difficult to treat due to several relapses or lack of recovery although treatment is available. To increase chances of recovery, during treatment, personal hygiene is important, wear dry undergarments and avoid use of antibiotics as this worsens the situation